'I am sorry': SFUSD Board VP responds to controversial 2016 tweets aimed at Asian Americans

ByMatt Boone KGO logo
Sunday, March 21, 2021
SFUSD Board VP responds to tweets targeting Asian Americans
A growing list of state and local leaders are joining the call for San Francisco Unified School District Board vice president Alison Collins to resign due to a series of tweets she made in 2016.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A growing list of state and local leaders are joining the call for San Francisco Unified School District Board vice president Alison Collins to resign due to a series of tweets she made in 2016.

In one, Collins described a story where her daughter "heard boys teasing a Latino about "Trump, Mexicans and the KKK." The boys were Asian American."

In another, referring to Asian American teachers, students and parents, she wrote "They use White supremacist thinking to assimilate and "get ahead".

Most of the tweets have since been deleted, but twelve of them were saved and published by the recently formed Recall SF School Board group, founded by two SFUSD parents who have launched a campaign to recall Collins along with two other board commissioners.

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"It kind of seemed to be judging Asian Americans for wanting to like study hard and work and give the kids an education," said Siva Raj about the tweets.

Raj co-founded the recall group with Autumn Looijen.

The tweets were republished on their website as part of a slideshow called "30 Reasons to Recall the SF School Board."

While written in December of 2016, the tweets resurfaced amid and increase of high profile anti-Asian attacks and hate crimes that have been reported across the country, sparking a national social justice movement.

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A virtual town hall was held where California's crime victim advocates announced a 10-point plan with recommendations on how the state can better help crime victims, including Asian Americans who have been attacked.

Former San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee told ABC7 "this is terrible, this is not acceptable to me," about Collins' tweets.

Saturday, Yee published an open letter calling for Collins to resign, which was co-signed by more than 20 other local and state officials.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed also joined the call for Collins to step down, tweeting "Our students and our API community deserve better."

Collins published a response on Saturday, in a Medium post entitled "What matters most."

In it she wrote "A number of tweets and social media posts I made in 2016 have recently been highlighted. They have been taken out of context, both of that specific moment and the nuance of the conversation that took place."

Specifically, she points out the were written a month after President Donald Trump was elected on a campaign fueled by racially charged language.

"It was a time of processing, of fear among many communities with the unknown of how the next four years would unfold," wrote Collins.

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She continued by adding "I acknowledge that right now, in this moment my words taken out of context can be causing more pain for those who are already suffering. For the pain my words may have caused I am sorry, and I apologize unreservedly."

Few public officials have come to offer any support or engage in the "nuance of the conversation," though SFUSD Board President Gabriela Lopez tweeted "I stand in solidarity with Vice President Collins and Asian American communities. This week has been marked by hate and violence. And in this moment of pain, words matter more than ever. I appreciate that Vice President Collins has apologized for her remarks."

Nick Cho, who gained popularity on the app TikTok under the name "YourKoreanDad" also came to Collins' defense.

In a series of tweets, he accused the leaders of the recall effort of using Asian Americans as a wedge to pursue their own agenda.

"Do you people actually think that you can weaponize the current anti-Asian crisis against a Black VP of the SFUSD?" tweeted Cho at the recall organizers. "This is beyond disgusting."

Going further, he made the argument that Collins was not expressing anti-Asian views, rather, she was calling out instances of racism by Asians. "The tweets in question are difficult to read but they express absolutely legitimate and true issues within the Asian American community. Anti-Black racism in the APA community is a real issue."